Segments in this Video

Careers of Hegel and Marx (02:19)


Through his influence on German nationalism and by having Marx as a disciple, Hegel changed the world. Bryan Magee provides background on Hegel and Marx's lives.

Relationship of Marx to Philosophy (00:36)

Marxism isn't philosophy, but contains a Hegelian philosophical element. This program will focus mostly on Hegel, then show how his ideas influenced Marx. Bryan Magee will interview Peter Singer.

Understanding Hegel (00:41)

To understand the highly obscure Hegel, start with his concrete philosophy of history, which will ease us into his more abstract concepts.

Hegel and History (01:31)

Hegel was the first philosopher to regard history as important. Previous philosophers sought eternal human nature. Hegel saw concepts as embedded in societies.

Example of Dialectical Process (02:15)

Socrates' questioning destroyed the Greeks' simple harmony between individual and society. Individual conscience developed as an antithesis, but led to breakdown of order with the French Revolution. Synthesis became necessary.

Dialectical Process and Goal (01:56)

For Hegel, perpetual change happens because every situation contains conflicting elements, which destabilize it. For Hegel, this process has as its goal the greater development of mind towards freedom.

Geist (01:30)

The interviewer asks what it is that change, for Hegel, is happening to. The answer is "geist," mind or spirit; not individual mind, but Mind itself.

Hegelianism Compared to Religion (01:53)

For Hegel, ultimate reality is mental or spiritual, the geist. Whereas orthodox Christianity holds that God is spiritual and separate from the material world, Hegel is closer to pantheism.

Whether Hegel's Philosophy is Religious (01:03)

Peter Singer thinks it is fruitful to interpret Hegel as non-religious, as talking about Mind and reason, to the extent possible, but ultimately religious assumptions become necessary for a full understanding.

Hegel's Idea of Alienation (02:10)

In alienation, something that is actually part of us seems foreign. For example, an unhappy soul puts his good qualities in a God, before whom he abases himself. In reality, for Hegel, we are part of God.

Goal of Dialectical Process (02:04)

The Mind comes to know itself as ultimate reality, incorporating what it once saw as alien. With no external forces to control us, we have total freedom. It follows that Hegel's philosophy was itself the culmination that it described.

Freedom and Self-Knowledge (02:07)

Hegel saw freedom and self-knowledge as the same thing. Understanding the mind as ultimate reality, and the correspondence of all things to reason, allows us to control all things rather than be controlled.

Dangers of Abstract Reason (02:28)

Hegel sees ideas as embodied in societies, and therefore not immutable. History culminates in a rational society, but not one of pure, abstract reason as French Revolutionaries envisioned.

Different Concepts of Freedom (03:36)

Liberal philosophers critique the organic view of the state as leaving no room for the individual. Hegel's notion of freedom differs from theirs; people acting on their preferences may not be free if others manipulated their preferences.

Hegel's Logic (01:37)

Understanding of the Hegel's dialectic helps us understand his logic. For Hegel, logic is not just form, as in Aristotle, but rather form and content go together.

Connection Between Hegel's Concepts (01:33)

For Hegel, understanding reality isn't understanding a given state of affairs, but rather understanding a process of change in Geist through the dialectical process toward an organic society and absolute knowledge.

Hegel's Obscurity (01:34)

Hegel didn't write clearly, though it is possible to present his ideas clearly. Hegel's style is one of showing us his struggle with challenging ideas rather than polished presentation of the result.

Reason for Hegel's Influence (00:58)

Hegel became influential partly because he was at the University of Berlin during Prussia's political rise, partly because his ideas were fertile in a variety of fields.

Right vs. Left Hegelians (01:59)

Right Hegelians thought the Prussian state was the organic state Hegel describes. Left Hegelians argued for the need to bring into harmony reason and desire, self-interest and morality, which would be a very radical change.

Marx and Hegel Compared (02:34)

Marx incorporated Hegel's idea that reality is a historical, dialectical process moving toward a conflict-free society. Whereas Hegel thought change was happening to Mind, Marx held that they were happening to matter.

Marx's Contribution (01:38)

Marx did not contribute to philosophy; his materialism was only an assumption. His contribution was instead the idea that economic processes control us, and to be free we must take control of them.

Positive Contributions of Hegel (01:33)

Hegel's ideas on the process of history shape our thinking. The notion of freedom as collective control of destiny, in contrast to the liberal notion, is another contribution.

Ideas and Twentieth Century Totalitarianism (01:35)

Hegel and Marx regarded ideas as embodied in history, which makes it fair to hold them responsible for their ideas' totalitarian embodiments. Peter Singer denies that totalitarian societies truly embody their ideas.

Faulty Concept of Human Nature (01:40)

Hegel held that geist is above differences in individual minds. Marx thought changing economic circumstances could overcome divisions that really do turn out to be rooted in human nature.

Credits: Hegel and Marx (00:49)

Credits: Hegel and Marx

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Hegel and Marx

Part of the Series : Great Philosophers
DVD Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



In this program, world-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and contemporary philosopher Peter Singer discuss rational Hegelian philosophy, and the historicism and organicism at its root. Hegel’s theories of absolute idealism and of a dialectic emphasize history in their development of a model of reality. His concept of this reality as ultimately spiritual, and of philosophy as organic and constantly changing, is examined. The theories of Karl Marx are discussed as essentially Hegelian, but with a practical, economic spin. A BBC Production. Part of the series Great Philosophers. (45 minutes)

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL7287

ISBN: 978-1-4213-8718-5

Copyright date: ©1987

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.